An Egyptian child's tomb, dating to 3,200 B.C., contained bowling balls and pins. Various forms of bowling have been popular in America since colonial times, as the English, Dutch, and German settlers all imported their own variations of bowling.
By the 1870s, competitive bowling between clubs was common in New York, Chicago and Milwaukee. Tenpin bowling dominated the sport, but without official rules and equipment standards the game flourished only at the local level.
On Sept. 9, 1895, the American Bowling Congress (ABC) was organized in New York City. The ABC held its first national tournament in 1901. The Women's International Bowling Congress (WIBC), first established in 1916 as the Ladies National Bowling Association, then named the Women's National Bowling Association, began championship games the following year. The Professional Bowlers Association of America was founded in 1958.
A hard rubber ball was introduced in 1905. Automatic pinspotting machines were invented in the early 1950s.
The United States Bowling Congress was founded in 2005 with the merger of the American Bowling Congress, Women's International Bowling Congress, Young American Bowling Alliance, and USA Bowling.
By the 1970s, annual prizes money in U.S. tournaments grew to $1 million. Today it exceeds $9 million.
Today, an estimated 70 million people bowl at least once a year in the United States.